Eating a diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables provides important health benefits when you select and prepare them safely.
Fruits and veggies add nutrients to your diet that help protect you from heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. And choosing produce including vegetables, fruits, and nuts—instead of high-calorie foods also helps you manage your weight.
But sometimes raw fruits and vegetables may contain harmful germs, such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria, which can make you and your family sick with food poisoning. In the United States, nearly half of foodborne illnesses are caused by germs on contaminated fresh produce.
Safer choices for fresh produce are washed fresh vegetables, including salads, and cooked vegetables. Unwashed fresh vegetables, including lettuce and salads, are more likely to make people sick with a foodborne illness.
Enjoy uncooked fruits and vegetables while taking steps to avoid food poisoning.
Anyone can get a foodborne illness, but people in certain groups are more likely to get sick and to have a more serious illness. These groups of people are:
If you or someone you care for has a greater chance of food poisoning, it’s especially important to take steps to prevent food poisoning when preparing and eating fresh fruits and vegetables.